Momentous Milestones in 2013

It’s been a banner year for the Foundation and retinal research, so highlighting the successes is a real challenge. But seeing as we’re reviewing fiscal year 2013, here are the Foundation’s top 13 milestones in research, fundraising and public awareness.


  • First “bionic retina” becomes available

    Argus II

    The Food and Drug Administration granted market approval for the Argus II retinal prosthesis, the first device of its kind available in the U.S. that can restore some vision to people blind from advanced retinitis pigmentosa.

  • Gene therapy for LCA closer to FDA approval

    The landmark gene therapy study that restored significant vision in patients with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) has advanced to a Phase III clinical trial — one step closer to FDA market approval. In addition, more than 150 people have received gene therapy in studies underway for retinitis pigmentosa, choroideremia, Stargardt disease, Usher syndrome and macular degeneration.

  • New Stargardt disease study launched

    The Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute started a natural history study of people affected by Stargardt disease, called ProgSTAR, to help researchers gain a better understanding of the condition and to develop optimal outcome measures for forthcoming clinical trials.

  • Promise in Stem Cell Research

    The first-ever stem cell clinical trial targeting retinitis pigmentosa using human embryonic stem cell-derived photoreceptors is poised to begin in 2014, aiming to rescue and preserve vision.

  • Seed money blooms

    Thanks to early Foundation support, two start-up biotech companies developing gene therapies for retinal diseases attracted nearly $40 million dollars each in venture capital funding to help move the treatments forward. Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC) is targeting achromatopsia and X-linked retinoschisis, and GenSight Biologics is targeting retinitis pigmentosa.



  • A powerful partnership

    The Foundation launched a national campaign with Walmart called Save Your Vision Month, engaging the retailer’s associates in volunteerism that led to $1.2 million in grant money from the Walmart Foundation.


  • Fundraisers flourish

    Dining in the Dark AttendeesThe Foundation’s 18 Visionary Awards dinners generated more than $5.3 million for blindness research, engaging notable honorees, including NFL Star Steven Jackson, NASCAR legend Richard Childress, fashion icon Jonathan Adler and former Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos.


  • Footsteps with a purpose

    A VisionWalk EventVisionWalk, the Foundation’s signature 5K fundraising program, surpassed the $28 million mark, with more than 50 annual walkathons engaging 100,000 people in the fight against blindness to date, since 2006.


  • Maximizing social buzz

    The Foundation’s social media presence expanded, with a Facebook following that grew by 6,000, to more than 17,000 fans. Twitter followers increased to more than 4,500, and the Eye on the Cure blog celebrated one year of compelling posts.

  • A record-breaking conference

    More than 600 attendees converged at the Foundation’s national conference, VISIONS 2013, for four days of networking, informative sessions and volunteer leadership training.

  • Power of the PSA

    Radio public service announcements (PSAs) raising awareness about the Foundation and age-related macular degeneration aired on more than 250 radio stations across the country. And print PSAs appeared in national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, AARP The MagazineAARP Bulletin and Forbes magazine, reaching millions.

  • Reaching patients in need

    More than 5,000 patients received free disease information from FFB. And nearly 1,500 people attended a Foundation Vision Seminar, hearing directly from top-notch retinal and low vision specialists about the latest research advances.

  • Grassroots momentum

    Chapter Members participate in a touch tour at the Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Foundation’s 47 chapters held countless fundraising, support, education and awareness events in their communities. Among the offerings were coffee socials, golf tournaments, wine tastings, speaker seminars and museum trips — a little something for everyone.

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  • Dig into the financial momentum making these milestones possible. Go Now >
  • Plan for an unforgettable experience at VISIONS 2014. Go Now >

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